Costa Rica National Team
Carlos Quirós Alvarez
Trainer of the Costa Rica National Team
In Costa Rica the futsal has a tradition which dates back to the decade of the 80s, and has a fairly new and idealistic organisation, fully supported by the organisational structures of the Costa Rican Federation of Football.
The Costa Rica futsal adult team began its preparation in October 1998, with the aim of qualifying for the first time for a FIFA World Championships in this discipline. (Previously it took part by invitation in the World Championships which took place in Hong Kong)
The Costa Rica team's participation in the World Championship qualifiers was always surrounded by huge expectations of success, since it was assumed that the country hosting an event of this kind would have the best chance of victory.
In the first phase of the tournament it proved to be a strong, fighting team, since on two occasions (Surinam and Cuba) it had to pull back from behind in the second half. The team managed to win the 3 games in this initial phase, against Nicaragua, Surinam and Cuba, ending up in first place in Group A.
The technical characteristics of the Costa Rica player are skill in tight spaces, improvisation when under pressure and a natural disposition to take opponents on with the ball under control. In terms of tactics the team relies on zone marking in three quarters of the pitch, with rotations of 3 and 4 players as elements of surprise in all sectors of the pitch.
Another important feature of the Costa Rica team is the mixture of experienced players, aged over 28, and youth in the form of several talented boys from the country. This results in a well-balanced team which devotes a great deal of time to preparing itself, thanks to the conditions of tranquillity and social peace which characterise this small Central American nation.
The semi-final round found them facing the good Mexico team, whose strong points are their delivery and excellent individual technique. The team managed to win this match and immediately gained them one of the two places allocated to the Confederation in this Tournament. (Third place automatically goes to Guatemala as the host country of the World Championships)
In the final of the event they were against a Cuban team which had had to make a supreme physical effort in the semi-final stage. They managed to win by a score of 2 - 0 and realise that great dream of the entire population, present in their multitudes in the Gymnasium of the Sports Stadium, in the city of Heredia, 10 kilometres from the Capital city of Costa Rica, San José.
To sum up this was an event which determined the two teams who deservedly obtained an entry ticket to a world tournament of the highest quality, by combining dreams with the proper preparation. People in the region know that a lot of work is required in order to reach the level of the great powers, as well as first class training and more regional and world class competition. However there is no doubt that these two teams, together with the host country, will be trying to demonstrate the progress they have made in Guatemala 2000.